By Vivian Okejeme Abuja
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court Abuja division, yesterday, set-aside two suits filed against the All Progressives Congress(APC) National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, and other officials, on the move to elongate their tenure in office.
On February 27, 2018, the party’s National Executive Council, had in a meeting, extended the four-year tenure of the party officials at the national, state, local government and ward levels due to expire on June 30, 2018, by one year.
President Muhammadu Buhari had, in another meeting of the NEC, advised against the tenure extension because citing legal consequences it could hold for the party.
Cited as 1st to 4th defendants in the suit were INEC, APC, Chief Odigie-Oyegun and the National Organising Secretary of the party, Senator Osita Izunaso.
Delivery judgement, the judge held that the suit has become academic, due to the fact that the party has started conducting it’s Congress towards electing new officials at every level.
He, therefore described the suits as hypothetical as the party have reversed the decision to extend the officials’ tenure, adding that the party had slated its national convention for May 19.
Justice Dimgba further held that it would have been a violation of the APC’s constitution in particular and Nigeria in general, if the tenure elongation move pushed through.
Sequel to the Party’s meeting that called for tenure elongation which had, President Muhammad Buhari in attendance, a member of the APC in Imo State, Mr. Okere Uzochukwu, on March 2, 2018, filed a suit with number FHC/ABJ/CS/2018, to challenge the move.
Mr. Okere prayed the court to compel INEC to reject, cease to recognize and to stop dealing or having any official communications with the Odigie-Oyegun led NWC of the APC, effective from June 1, 2018, having spent the constitutionally allowed tenure of office.
Also, on the March 8, 2018, four APC members who are aspiring to run for a leadership position, filed the second suit with number FHC/ABJ/CS/237/2018, challenging the position of the party on the elevation.
The four aggrieved members of the party- Ademorin Kuye from Lagos State; Sani Mayanchi from Zamfara State and currently the Publicity Secretary of the party in the state; Are Mutiu also from Lagos State, and Machu Tokwat from Kaduna State, maintained that the action of the APC NEC was illegal.
Specifically, the plaintiff urged the court to among other things, determine “Whether or not the National Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress has the constitutional powers to extend the tenure of the National Working Committee, State Working Committee, Local Government Area Executive Committee and Ward Executive Committee of the All progressives (APC) by one year or by any day howsoever purported; in view of Section 223 (1) (a) and (2) (a) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and section 85 (3) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) .